Saturday 26 March 2016

Make your own Matchbox Theatre

In the gorgeous Mango & Bambang: Tapir All at Sea, by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, Bambang discovers his magnificent talent for flamenco dancing. How he would love his very own little theatre, made by you, so he could take to the stage and show off all his best moves!

Here, illustrator Clara Vulliamy shows us how to make it... 

All you need is: 
A kitchen matchbox
Scissors, felt pens and a glue stick
A selection of coloured paper
Some ribbon, buttons and anything else you can use for decoration  
(to go with the book, I’ve chosen stripes, shiny things and lots of red)

Dispose of the matches safely, take the matchbox apart and cut away one edge of the inside.

We will make the inside and the outside separately and put it together at the end, so it doesn’t get all stuck together.

Measure a piece of coloured paper exactly the width of the outside of the box, cut it out,

and glue it down, covering the matchbox completely.

Now we need to cut a window out of the front (if you want to measure it, I made it about 15mm from the top, 8mm from the bottom and 12mm from the sides – but ‘by eye’ is just as good).

Cutting the window out IS tricky! 

TOP TIP: make a hole in the middle and cut to each corner – it makes cutting around the edge easier.

For the curtains, cut two small lengths of ribbon and glue them just inside the top edge of the window.

Then decorate the inside of the matchbox – only the bits that will be visible. I’ve gone for some glittery wrapping paper for extra showbiz sparkle.

Slide the inside into the outside.

Decorate the outside of the theatre with anything you fancy – drawn-on patterns, buttons, pom-poms, more ribbon… and decorate the top too.


Can’t find much at home in the way of buttons and bows? 

Here’s a nifty alternative: the wrappers from a box of chocolates or sweets make beautiful decorations. But oh dear, you will have to eat the contents. What an ordeal.

The stage is set, the audience are in their seats, an expectant hush…

All we need now is the star of the show!

Download and print out this sheet to find two Bambangs in either his feather boa or his flamenco hat and sash. Cut out and colour in – and perhaps draw some dancers of your own?

And here he is – dancing onto the stage to wild cheers and applause!

Mango and Bambang: Tapir All at Sea is out now. Pick up a copy at your local bookshop.